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October 14, 2006

Tony La Russa


Q. What made Supp so outstanding out on the hill tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: Just the command. He has three, four, five pitches and he kept throwing them where he was trying to, all of them very difficult for hitters to center. His command was a throwing clinic.

Q. Did you think those first couple of innings, did you think there was any carryover from last night and how you won the game yesterday, did that translate into the energy you saw early, or just a matter of your guys centering on the pitches?
TONY LA RUSSA: I bet you if you check over time, when you have a real comeback win like that, the next day you come out and you find it hard to score. I just think the guys separated the game. It's a four-win tournament here, and that one's already in the book. We enjoyed it last night. I think we just came ready to play and got the jump on it.

Q. How huge would you say the defense was a part of the game tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: Talk about Supp pitching, our defense throwing a clinic, as well, all over the park. But when a pitcher is pitching like he does, he's making pitches, he's moving the game along, you get that kind of response from the defense. It's the goal of every starter to get cranking like that because especially of the talent of our defensive club, they will make plays.

Q. Which of those plays was the best?
TONY LA RUSSA: I would say probably either one of the two that Scott made. The barehanded play was out of this world and then he made another one on an in-between hop that usually eats people up. David had some outstanding plays and the play with Preston, the catch and throwing the runner out. Those were all above average. The two that Scott made, the degree of difficulty were up there on a 10.

Q. I know the job doesn't ever allow you to think, we're really in control, but have there been times where you can recall, times you sat in the dugout, four or five innings and looked around and said, tonight we're good, tonight nobody's beating us, can you get that mindset at all or you just can't even do it?
TONY LA RUSSA: Absolutely never. Because not just the games that we're involved with, but if you're a fan and you watch other games, the game spanks you too many times. You play against a lineup like the Mets, I mean, every inning they came up there, you could see a couple guys got on and somebody popped one.
So, never do you think that you're in charge. Now, you know, all of a sudden you get to the ninth inning, five-run lead, figured, wasn't sure yet, but I thought we had a helluva chance. (Laughter.)

Q. What was your reaction to Supp's home run?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, sat in there with a smile in the dugout. His comment, I heard he thought it was going to be to the warning track and I was surprised it carried that far. He actually is a good hitter. I thought we got a one-run gift somehow, some way.

Q. How huge would you say the top of the lineup was for you at the plate tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, I thought throughout, the top did a good job. Preston had a good game. David got on, walked, single. Albert did his usual thing, a couple of hits.
But I thought right through, we just had a bunch of good at-bats. And we didn't break through any more, and I think you've got to give Darren Oliver a lot of credit. He shut us down. We kept taking at-bats.

Q. When did you make up your mind about playing Rolen tonight?
TONY LA RUSSA: I penciled in lineups for the first four games and he was in this one in pencil and last night, once you get to start thinking about it you get more serious. But you always wait until the next day. It's one of those things, you don't have to make out a lineup until you get to the ballpark.
That's the neat thing about our club, that's one of the things I like about our club, guys like So Taguchi, Encarnacion, Chris Duncan that you would like to have play, and they didn't play because we have enough good players.

Q. The way Spiezio is hitting the ball, are you going to start using a pen there on the lineup card a little bit or what are your thoughts about what he has contributed here since the end of the season and even before that?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, he's just continuing what he did during the season. When Albert went out, he played first base and we had a winning record. When Scott was out, he played third. This guy has done a great job that way.
I'm not sure he's playing tomorrow. You know, there's a lineup to write there, and it's going to be tough to get him in there. But you're tempted to because he'll make something good happen.

Q. How did Jeff's stuff compare tonight to when he got you into the World Series in 2004?
TONY LA RUSSA: Well, you think about it, he's won 16 two years in a row. This year he had one of the best second halves of any National League pitchers. So his stuff is there a lot. I think it's just the moment. When you pitch a Game 7 against Roger in Houston -- today, we go up a game in this thing. The significance of the game makes it more special that he could take not just his stuff, but his concentration, he was so focused and kept making great pitches.
I think tie for first, that one and this one.

End of FastScripts...

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